Harriet Tubman Biopic ‘Harriet’ Headed to Theaters
Abolitionist, humanitarian, and future currency star Harriet Tubman may very well be the most significant black woman to have ever lived. She ferried what scholars estimate to be over 70 runaway slaves to freedom through her Underground Railroad network, and to this day continues to provide inspiration to anyone struggling to do the right thing in a status quo that enforces injustice. Having most recently unseated former president and noted genocidal maniac Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill, Harriet Tubman may be the closest thing U.S. history has to an actual superhero.
All that being said, it’s beyond comprehension that some studio hasn’t mustered up the audacity to attempt a biopic for the great H-Tubs — until now. While she has been depicted onscreen before in the 1978 TV miniseries A Woman Called Moses and will be portrayed by Viola Davis in an upcoming project for HBO, today brings the news via Deadline that a bona fide feature film will claim Tubman’s life and times as its subject. The project, titled Harriet, will explore Tubman will a little more breadth than usual, going beyond her time on the Underground Railroad to her extended stint as a spy for the Union forces during the Civil War. Regrettably, the title Harriet the Spy has already been taken. TV veteran Seith Mann (he’s got credits on everything from The Wire to The Walking Dead on his C.V.) will direct from a script by Gregory Allen Howard, the scribe behind Remember the Titans.
With an all-black creative team on board, including producer Charles King, the vital importance of this project extends beyond the chronicling of a black icon. It’s a crucial chapter of our nation’s history and the talent attached will ensure that it’s told the right way, specifically that audiences won’t have to access Tubman’s life through a white character meant to stand in as an audience surrogate. At last, film for the people, by the people — let it not perish from this earth.